Wednesday, August 5

Police not involved in Japanese tourist robbery case

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KOTA KINABALU: A language barrier was believed to be the cause of a misunderstanding between a Japanese tourist and law enforcement personnel when the former allegedly accused the Sabah police of conspiring with criminals when he was earlier robbed of his money at Kampung Air here on Tuesday.

The 34-year-old victim from Japan has also uploaded a video in his Facebook page and in YouTube claiming that police were conspiring with criminals, which has gone viral.

But according to city police chief ACP M. Chandra, the whole incident was due to a language barrier between the police and the victim.

“I do not deny that the victim has accused the police but what actually happened was a language barrier and miscommunication between both parties.

“The incident happened when the victim was robbed of RM2,050, namely RM1,400, AS$65 (RM283) and 10,000 Yen (RM367), while taking a walk in Kampung Air, here around 3pm on January 5.

“Police investigation revealed that while the victim was taking a walk in the area after having his lunch at a nearby restaurant, an unknown woman approached him and invited to him a premises located on the second floor.

“The victim followed and while inside the premises, four unknown men approached the victim and robbed him of his wallet before all the suspects fled the scene.

“As the victim was chasing after the suspects, he came across a group of plainclothes policemen who were undercover and in the mist of an operation.

“The plainclothes policemen tried their best to assist the victim but were faced with communication problem.

“We believe the victim has initially thought that the police were conspiring with the suspects when in actual fact they (police) were doing their best trying to assist the victim,” said Chandra yesterday.

Following the incident, police immediately launched a manhunt for the suspect after the victim lodged a report at the city police headquarters on the same day.

A public tip led police to the arrest of five people, including a woman, in less than 12 hours after the alleged robbery.

The suspects, aged between 20 and 34, were arrested in two separate raids in Asia City and Sembulan between 12.55am and 3am yesterday morning.

“The first raid was carried out at a hotel in Asia City at 12.55am where police detained three individuals while the remaining two suspects were held about two hours later in Sembulan,” said Chandra, adding that police also recovered the stolen money from the suspects.

The case was currently being investigated under Section 395 of the Penal Code for gang-robbery, said Chandra.

“We have since informed and briefed the Japanese consulate as well as the victim of the whole incident, including the arrest of the suspects.

“The victim fully understood that the whole incident was due to miscommunication and he has also thanked the police for their professionalism and for solving the case and issue amicably,” said Chandra who urged the public not to spread any more rumours as the case had been solved.